By JoAnna Ness, Apr 9 2019 03:09PM
Joyce Gutstein’s passion for nursing led her to establish scholarships to pay it forward to other students entering the profession. Joyce grew up in Springfield, Illinois, and she was able to study at Memorial Medical Center thanks to a scholarship she received for nursing training. Afterwards, she moved to Chicago and took classes towards a liberal arts degree at University of Illinois. Joyce worked at a hospital while taking classes, and she loved public health nursing. Joyce worked with the Infant Welfare Society in Chicago, making house calls and talking to parents about nutrition and accident prevention. Joyce visited many neighborhoods in the city, and she remarked, “As long as I was in uniform, people would pass by and say ‘hi, nurse!’ and I always felt safe.”
Joyce met her husband, Alfred, who was working at the same hospital while he studied for his bar exam. Alfred grew up in Kendallville, Indiana, and the couple moved to Steuben County after they married 56 years ago. Alfred served as a lawyer for decades, including 12 years as Steuben County’s prosecuting attorney. Joyce joined the organizing committee of the Well Child Clinic in Angola, then served as nurse coordinator there for 22 years. She did health teaching, worked with WIC and the health department to make sure kids had their immunizations, and helped spread good parenting skills. “Al called it my full-time part-time job,” she joked. Joyce increased her hours as her two daughters grew up, both of whom are teachers today. “It’s been a wonderful community to raise a family.” In addition to working with Well Child Clinic, she co-organized interagency meetings with Helen Smatt, a County Nurse at the time, and helped create the first nursery school in Steuben County as a collaboration between the Angola United Methodist and First Congregational United Church of Christ. During much of this time, Joyce was also heavily involved with Santa’s Helpers, helping to create the organization that shopped for over 1000 kids for 30 years.